Quick Take: It’s 2011 and James Bond has one week to prevent Incident 20–an unknown threat that will adversely affect British interests and kill thousands of people
Makes Me Want To: Read more Jeffrey Deaver James Bond novels, and see Carte Blanche as a Daniel Craig Bond movie
My Thoughts: I like Bond, but I wouldn’t call myself a Bond aficionado. I’ve seen some of the old Connery films (very dated) and the Brosnan films (started well, got too outlandish) and I love the Daniel Craig Bond movies. He is by far my favorite Bond–Casino Royale was awesome. However, I’ve never read a Bond novel. I was hearing good things about Carte Blanche so I decided to check it out, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Fast-paced and smartly written, this is present day James Bond. He may not be a feminist, but he’s no longer a chauvinist either. His toys come in the form of apps to his iPhone-like device, he’s an intelligent analyst as well as a super-spy, and the issues he faces are 21st century concerns: recycling, rendition and records privacy weren’t for Connery’s Bond.
While he still drives fast cars, drinks shaken martinis and meets women with funny names (Ophelia Maidenstone, Ms. Goodnight), this is James Bond for 2011. He’s welcome to stay (hint, hint Jeffrey Deaver).
The MacGuffin of Carte Blanche is Incident 20. What exactly is Incident 20? All we (and our heroes) know is that it is to occur on October 20 and will adversely affect British interests while killing thousands of people. Bond has one week to figure out what it is and stop it. His adventures take him to Serbia, Dubai and South Africa, and Deaver does a nice job setting the scene, particularly in South Africa. Culture, customs, history and present-day politics are all interpolated into the story without overuse of the Exposition Fairy, or lecture moments.
If you like Bond movies or spy novels, I highly recommend Carte Blanche. It’s a quick read with a little more meat on the bones than your average adventure.